Lessons in Professional Blogging

I’ve been blogging since 1998 and have seen plenty of rewards in terms of writing experience, web know-how and even some freelance jobs and interest garnered thanks to my blog. But making money directly off my blog has been a new experience for me. It’s certainly not the only reason I blog, but it’s a nice bonus.

In late April I started my own blog network and pro-blogging, while not yet a reality, is at least understandable. Below are a few of the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

(Note: I originally wrote this to be a part of ProBlogger.net’s 31 Days to Building a Better Blog, but I think I missed the cut off. Oh well.)

Optimize your Google Ads
If you’re serious about making money on your blog one of the most important things you need to do is optimize your revenue. I added Google’s AdSense to my personal blog in May 2004, though I never made more than a few bucks a month.

Then I stumbled across Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger and started to read up on how to optimize your Google Ads. There’s a lot you can do, from adding more ads, to getting rid of the borders, to making sure relevant ads show up. As soon as I did that I saw my income start to go up. We’re still talking pennies, but I was making something as opposed to usually making nothing.

Find a Niche
The second big step I took was to specialize in a niche. One thing I learned from researching was that a blog does better if it focuses on a niche topic. It does better at both finding and drawing an audience, and it gets more targeted Google Ads which generally perform better.

My personal blog covered everything and had no niche. And frankly, I liked it that way. But I did notice a number of niche topics on my personal blog that I could pull out and run as their own blogs. So I started blogs on music, movies & TV, books, the Twin Cities and just last week NASCAR (in addition to blogs I already had for quotes, reviews and my dogs).

I picked topics that were focused enough to draw targeted ads, but were also general enough that I’d have an easy time finding content for them in the course of my day. I may have been starting a blogging network, but I wasn’t interested in spending hours upon hours blogging. I wanted to keep doing the blogging I had been doing but find a way to get a better return on my investment. My niche blogs made that happen and I’ve seen increasing revenues since I diversified.

As a side note, my personal blog still makes a decent amount. Up until last month it made the most, but this month it looks like it’ll be number 4. That’s probably due to the traffic and massive archives of my personal blog.

How do my other blogs stack up? Let’s take a look.

Ranking in terms of Google ad revenue for the month of August:

  1. Quotables – Lots of search engine traffic.
  2. I Like Music – Search engine traffic.
  3. Moving Pictures – More search engine traffic (I’ve had some good luck with a few well-timed entries on highly searched topics).
  4. Thoughts – Performs well thanks to high traffic and a huge archive.
  5. Twin Cities Liver – Usually it doesn’t do this well

2 thoughts on “Lessons in Professional Blogging”

  1. $50 can buy many peanuts!

    Seriously though, congratulations on all this stuff. I’ll never make a dime off my blog, and I never intend to. I just generally dislike Google Ads, banner ads, blah blah. But I think it’s excellent that you’ve learned so much about the system and you’re learning to become really good at it. I hope it goes well for you!

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